Kidambi Srikanth credits his terrific run of form to Pullela Gopichand

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Kidambi Srikanth credits his terrific run of form to Pullela Gopichand

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SportsCafe Desk

06/28/2017

Kidambi Srikanth, who recently won the Australian Open Super Series title beating Olympic champion Chen Long in the final owing to his attacking play, has credited his former coach Pullela Gopichand for the success. Srikanth will next represent India in the World Championships scheduled in August.

Srikanth Kidambi created history by winning back to back Superseries titles starting with the Indonesian Open where he defeated Japan's Kazumasa Sakai 21-11, 21-19 and followed it up with a 22-20, 21-16 win over Chen Long to clinch the Australian Open Super Series title and become the first Indian badminton player in history to do so. Owing to the recent success, Srikant is on the brink of breaking into the top ten badminton player rankings and will feature either on the 7th or the 5th spot. 

The 24-year old revealed that the attacking style of play that he donned in the recent competitions with his go-to move being the jump smash is a by-product of Pullela Gopichand's inputs.

"The whole credit goes to Gopi sir. He's really helped me develop that shot. He's the one who has pushed me towards that. In fact, most of my shots and skills are because of his training. It's all due to his focus. I have really worked hard on improving that stroke, but I have not thought about how it looks to opponents. It's about working on every aspect of your game and to try to attain perfection," Srikanth told TOI.

Srikanth also heaped praises on his current coach Mulyo Handoyo who was roped in by Pullela Gopichand under whom he, PV Sindhu, and Sai Praneeth have won titles.

"The kind of training he does has really helped, for sure. Training is now very different to what we used to do earlier. With Gopi sir's inputs and Mulyo's training schedule, it is really helping all of us [at the academy in Hyderabad]. Earlier, we used to have only Gopi sir's inputs, but now with Mulyo on board it is a bonus for us. I am really happy working with him. It is two great minds working towards one goal," he said.

When questioned about what gave him the confidence to attack Olympic Champion Chen Long against whom Srikanth's record was 0-5 before the Sydney final the Indian shuttler replied, "I think it is because the last couple of weeks I was very confident. Playing that many finals gave me confidence, and being that confidence gave me more strength and all that comes with it ... the aspects you are talking about. If I had played him [Chen] in the first round in Indonesia, it would have been a totally different game. So, I would say it had a lot to do with my confidence."

The 24-year old expressed confidence over his fitness and stated that he had never felt better.

"Physically, I would say I feel fitter than what I was before the Rio Olympics. It feels really good. I have worked hard to get to this level. I have been playing really well for the last couple of months. I am feeling very confident. It is the best form of my life, the best I have played in my career, but there is still a lot more to come in the future." he said.

When asked if he would have liked to cash in his form and compete in the World Championships now rather than August he replied, "No, to be honest. Every time I have trained hard for longer periods of time, I have performed really well. I would love to train for longer periods to keep getting better and keep pushing myself. As I said, there is a lot more to achieve."

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